Phones often ship with a SIM lock that ensures they can only be used with a single carrier. Unlocking a phone allows it to be used with any carrier.

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What is the difference between jailbreaking and unlocking an Android? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the difference between: Rooting, Jailbreak, ROM, Mod, etc Is either possible, legal, contractually legit and does either damage the phone?